Monthly Archives: February 2009

Help needed to stabilize xorg-server 1.5.3 and friends

It has indeed been quite a while since I’ve written anything here, but I’ll try to keep it both short and focused. Longer rants on other topics should follow once I have some more time.

So what’s going on in the X/Gentoo land, you ask?

Well, we’re aiming to stabilize xorg-server 1.5.3 and a whole batch of other stuff Real Soon Now ™.

Why is this a big deal?

Because X is pretty much central when it comes to the desktop. While we can’t risk breaking it too often, we can’t afford staying with the current situation for stable users. Xorg 1.3 is old, unsupported, has unfixable bugs and it smells like that piece of meat in the back of your fridge.

But Xorg 1.5 doesn’t do {feature X} or support {hardware Y}!!!

I know, and it’s a tough call. We’ve been putting off the stabilization of newer Xorg servers precisely because of that. But now, we’re in a situation where newer versions fix more bugs and support more hardware. Yes, some people will be pissed off and I’m not exactly thrilled about pissing users off. But we have to move on.

Can’t you wait for Xorg 1.6 then?

No, because there are more users waiting for 1.5 than users who will benefit from 1.6. And by going to newer drivers now, we can help spot issues faster and get more bugs fixed for newer releases. With each new X release, the server handles less and less hardware details directly, leaving the kernel and X drivers do all the dirty work. Once we stabilize 1.5, going to 1.6 should be much easier than older upgrades.

Alright, you win, how can I help?

That’s the spirit! I strongly urge as many stable users as possible to try this because, Xorg 1.5.3 will go stable one way or another. The sooner you test it, the sooner you can adapt.

  1. Go to the stabilization bug,
  2. Fetch the stabilization list “x11.stable.list” and append it to /etc/portage/package.keywords
  3. run emerge -DuNav world
  4. Just to be safe, run emerge $(qlist -C -I x11-drivers/) -1av to rebuild your X drivers (portage may have updated things in the wrong order, better safe than sorry)

Once all this is done, you should have a brand new Xorg on your machine. Here’s a quick list of things you should look out for :

  • HAL support now actually works but may conflict with your xorg.conf, it can be easily solved though.
  • the Intel driver is no longer called i810, but intel. You’ll need to update your xorg.conf, otherwise X won’t start.
  • the open-source ATI driver xf86-video-ati now only supports Radeon chipsets. Rage Pro owners will have to use xf86-video-mach64 or xf86-video-r128 instead.
  • Please don’t comment on the stabilization bug if you have issues. Either come talk to us on #gentoo-desktop or file bugs in our trusty Bugzilla

Please help us move away from Xorg 1.3 and into the present with Xorg 1.5. We’ll take care of the future (aka 1.6) when this is done. :)

Cheers

Edit: added bullet on Radeon support
Edit 2: added –one-shot to the emerge command